Monday, December 31, 2012

B5814 - Gertie's Draped Wiggle Dress

So given my general aesthetic, it should be no shock that I am a big fan of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.  (Who has two thumbs and got her book for Christmas?  This girl! Wiggle dress, here I come!)

So it should also come as no suprise that I was thrilled to attemt B5814, the draped wiggle dress created for Butterick. I really love this style and made it out of a green silk Vera Wang slipper satin purchased from Fabric Mart lo these many moons ago.

This dress involves a great deal of structure created through pleating and boning.

I have never quite figured out how to successfully do a FBA on anything other than a standard darted bodice.  So to get the appropriate fit, I cut a 22 on the front bodice peices and graded down to the 18 at the waist and cut a 18 on the shoulder and back sections. 

This structure means that the bodice is essentially a strapless dress with a cap sleeve attached.  

 The volume in the skirt is also created through pleats.  The pleating does create a bit of fluffiness in the lower stomach region, but it is largely covered by the front drape. 


 Sadly, on my version the back darts did not line up  (although the side seams and front darts lined up perfectly) so I ultimately decided to add a fabric belt with a bow that I centered over the drape.

To add to the christmas festiveness, I used red hem tape.

And because this dress is a bit low cut, I made a structured tank out of a green, navy and metallic brocade to fit under the dress and bring the neckline up to what some people may consider more respectable levels.  (Although I don't have an issue with the original cut, after all, what what is double-sided tape for?)

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, and a Very Happy New Year!

New Year's Resolutions

Goodbye 2012 and Hello 2013!

So it's definitely been an eventful year.  In life I was laid off, I visited England and I acquired a very handsome roommate. I blogged about making two different dresses to attend two different weddings and dressed as a famous painting for Halloween.  In "unblogged" sewing I made a green silk satin dress for a Solstice party, a pair of wide-legged wool trousers, and several casual dresses.  Leading me to...

Resolution Number One:

Blog about my many finished projects!  I have photos, I just haven't written entries.  Probably because I'm lazy.  Some items to look forward to: Gertie's Butterick draped wiggle dress, aforementioned wide leg trousers, the perfect faux wrap dress, and a purple silk blouse with a jaunty bow and gold buttons up the back.  Be excited!

Resolution Number Two:

Tackle the giant pile of UFOs.  I have at least 15 garments sitting in my sewing room in various states of incomplete.  Quite a few items just need handstitching and hemming because I hate handstitching and hemming, while other items are cut out but completely unassembled.  I also need to finish that suit jacket I started in early 2011... It fell by the wayside when I moved and has been hanging around morosely waiting for the day I am inspired to pick it back up.

Resolution Number Three:

Cease buying new fabric until some of the stash is used up.  I firmly believe that part of my UFO issue is that I am constantly getting distracted by new projects that I want to start immediately.  Here is how this usually goes:

"La-dee-da, I am working on a lovely garment which will be so useful when I'm done!  You know what I will need to go with this garment?  Another garment!  But not a garment made out of any fabric found in the two enormous cupboards holding my stash!  No indeed!  I have a very specific vision that will require me to purchase new fabric.  I must head to the interwebz to obtain this one very particular item!  (Furious typing)  I have now found the fabric of my dreams!  But before I log off I may as well check the clearance section.  What is this?  Chartruese silk twill for only $6.99 per yard?  I should buy some as it's such a good deal.  Nevermind that I look sickly in chartruese, I can picture one specific use for this fabric to create a dress to wear someday!  Oooh, this looks pretty... (more furious typing) And this... ($150.00 later).  I can't wait for my purchases to arrive so I can sew an incredibly practical ballgown which will be very useful in my life as a lawyer and not a film star!  Wait a minute... was I doing something before I started online shopping?  Oh well, if I can't remember it must not have been that important."


And this is why I am resolved to put a moratorium on fabric shopping until the UFOs are completed and the stash reduced to a size that will fit into a single fabric cupboard.  (Which is seriously still a lot of fabric to have sitting around actually...)

Most of my other resolutions are related to real life and therefore dreadfully boring (things like finding a permanent job and taking concrete steps toward my plan to move to a larger metropolitan area).  So resolved to be a more responsible seamstress and human in this upcoming year I wish all my readers a very happy New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Some Vintage Acquisitions

Just thought I would share a few of the items I picked up on my last trip to Flower Child in Lakewood.  This gem of a vintage store carries clothing and furniture but also usually has a nice selection of vintage sewing patterns that can be purchased for just a few dollars. 

Channeling Dorothy Dandridge... or Vogue 8711

So Dorothy Dandridge... fabulous or super fabulous?  Before you answer please read this post about her life from The Hairpin and watch this glorious clip from Carmen Jones.  And now having watched said clip, can you continue on in life without that outfit? That gorgeous red skirt? 
I used a tomato red ponte knit purchased a JoAnns.  The fabric was a good weight and had the perfect stretch although it didn't press particularly well. 
The drape across the front is created by through both pleats and gathers.  Step one involved creating the pleating and gathering on each portion of the front faux-wrap.

I then basted the front sections together...

Before attaching the front yoke panels.


 The back of the skirt boasts both princess seams and a curved yoke which I have to say is quite flattering to those of us with a curvier backside.  

I attached the front and back panels, matching the yoke along the side seam.

Finally I attached the waistband.  The waistband on this skirt is about an inch thick to accomodate elastic.  This sadly leads to some bunchiness and I think that if you used a sufficiently firm knit, the elastic could be eliminated.  I tried on the skirt for final fittings without the elastic and it fit smoothly but I added the elastic as directed out of fear that the fabric would stretch with wear.  

See what I mean about both the bunching waistband?  But also see what I mean about looking nice on one's caboose?


 I paired the skirt with a draped black top for the sultry Carmen Jones feel.  This is an outfit in which you can look at someone disdainfully and say, "You make sounds I don't like." 

I also paired this skirt with a white cami and black cardigan for work which toned down the sexiness factor to more appropriate levels.  Although if you don't want to tone down the sexiness just yet, I'll leave you with this picture of Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.  Because seriously, did you know that in olden days Harry Belafonte was also super beautiful?  He was much prettier than any garment I could possibly make.  Enjoy!